No further comments. The guy is just amazing
Saw a nice video from Petzl. Featuring an opening scene of Petzl’s Nomic ice axe as Nessie and a “Braveheart” style amphibious landing… The film is shot in Scotland featuring mixed climbing in Ben Nevis Among other spots. Nice one Petzl!
Directed By Guillaume Broust
John Croxford, Ueli Steck, Tony Lamiche, Erwan Lelann, Martial Dumas, Yann Mimet, Aljaz Anderle, Mathieu Majnadier, Loic Tonnot, Andy Turner, Alan Hinkes, Philip Dowthwate, Nigel Hooker, Allan McKenzy, Tim Neill
I consider Trekking Poles as the second most important piece of equipment, after a good pair of shoes / boots, for mountain hiking and climbing (for the approach phase). I remember my first trekking poles back in the era of 1980′s. They were something like cheap skiing poles cut in the middle, with plastic screw-in connectors, totally uncomfortable plastic grips and cheap leather straps. Ha Ha Ha!! I still have them so I promise to post a photo here in order to share the laugh. Back then, when we met other people on the mountains we were stared at each other in contempt… “what are they doing with the sticks…. can’t they walk straight?”, and many other dismissive comments like this. But things have changed and now you see more people using poles than the ones not using poles. The advantages are many.
Trekking poles offer a lot of service to the walker. They relieve the weight from the knees, transferring the load to the upper body, they provide stability in descents and tricky points in the trail and according to my belief they help maintain the pace while walking. Nowadays, they are also used for pitching lightweight tents and in emergencies they can provide with a frame for a light stretcher along with the means to immobilize a broken limb. In general, I can verify that by using poles I can cover more distance and cope with difficult alpine terrain with decreased fatigue.
Since this Autumn, I have replaced my previous poles with Black Diamond’s Spire Elliptic. I can say that I am very satisfied with these poles which I have used also in winter conditions.
Web Site Information
The Spire Elliptic gives unrelenting support on technical climbs and descents.
- Dual-density grip top, foam grip, non-slip foam extension and Nubuck strap
- 15-degree corrective angle
- Elliptic FlickLock® upper and Auto-Lock Binary™ lower adjustment
- Non-rotating shape for ergonomic comfort and strength
- Short Flex Tips and low-profile Trekking Baskets
Series : Approach Series
Weight Per Pair : 572 g, 1 lb 4 oz
Usable Length : 105–140 cm, 41–55 in
Collapsed Length : 68.5 cm, 27 in
On the Trail…
The grips have performed nicely. I very much like the non-slip foam extension as you can adjust your grip while traversing slopes, without adjusting the Flick Lock, and also to take a small climb while overall descending. I believe that the grips are very versatile and of very good quality foam. My hands rest nicely on the hand grips and the beefy stoppers at the end support the hand greatly. However, I have found that with my leather gloves on, I cannot fit as snugly as without them. This could be a minor issue for average user because my hands size is very large (i wear XL to XXL depending on the fit if the gloves, or size 11). The strap performs OK and it breathing ability is nice.
The 15 Degree tilt of the grips have helped me to transfer more torque, especially on the uphill. This is a very strong point of these poles. However, I could guess that this is a “Love it, or hate it” feature. It takes a bit to get used to it, but after that you’ll be happier.
The elliptic shape of the aluminium tubes offers great rigidity over lightness performance, and this is perceived immediately after you get to “ride” these poles (provided you have experience from round tubes in order to compare). Although rigid, stable and light, these poles experience a slight lateral movement while placing the pole on the ground, noticed at the area of the auto-lock binary. I have not found something negative, or problematic about that but I am just quoting it for the shake of completeness in this review.
The Flick-Lock works fantastic! I am Impressed. I have tried other brands while searching for poles and I can say that BD’s Flick-Locks had the best balance between firmness and ease of operation. You can easily operate these locks with gloves on, and they do not move a millimetre after a day long snow climb, pounded by the weight of the walker and its pack. I believe that the old problem of the “screw-lock” poles has been solved. That is to put all your weight on the pole, during a slip, and the pole to become shorter. The Flick-Lock includes a screw for adjusting the holding power of the lock. However, it was not necessary to increase the firmness up to now.
The Auto-Lock Binary is stable and very easy to operate (also with gloves on). It actually contributes to the simplicity of the pole, as you only have to select the length from the Flick-Lock and then just pull the end of the pole to open it to full length.
I was kind of suspicious for the tips at the beginning, due to the round metal tip. I believed that they will be slipping while trying to hook on rocky terrain… I was big time wrong. I have never experienced a slip although I tried hard to have one.
The low-profile trekking baskets perform nice in rocky alpine terrain moving through the rocks without being stuck somewhere. However, if you want to move to a more leafy, forest traverse like, path surely you would benefit if equipped with larger baskets. The stock baskets definitely don’t want to have to do anything with snow. For this reason I got the BD 3/4 back-country baskets. The front circle of the basket …is missing enabling better clearance while walking. I have used this configuration this winter and I was quite happy. I have climbed steep sections of snowy slopes being provided with excellent support from my poles. The grips show their class in this terrain where length adjustments are frequent.
As a final comment… As I am a photography enthusiast I miss the monopode function of my previous poles. That is, you could unscrew the grips and attach your camera to the pole. This provides nice support to low-speed exposures, especially when climbing and being tired, plus you do not need to carry the extra weight of a monopode. If these poles had this functionality I would be simply in love with them.
However, I believe that this is a superb set of poles, that will accompany you during your Sunday hikes and support you during long approaches and traverses.
- This is minor… the lateral movement around the Binary Lock
- They had the Monopode function for attaching my cameras
PS: Did I said that I like the Burnt Orange Colour?
Posted in Outdoor Gear / Apparel, Trekking Poles | Tagged approach, BD, Black Diamond, Black Diamond Equipment, Gear, Gear Review, hiking, outdoor, Outdoor Gear, trekking, Trekking Poles | 1 Comment »
As my previous pair of low mountain shoes proven faulty, I begun searching for a replacement. I have seen these pair of shoes last year at a retailer, so I paid a visit to check them out. I was so impressed that finally got them. Here’s the story and a short review of my first impressions.
Product Description (Web Site Information)
The approach model in the HANWAG ROCK-collection: lightweight, sturdy and absolutely suitable for rock scrambling to reach the wall base.
- Lightweight construction
- High friction zone at sole tip
- Special climbing last
Upper Material: Sportvelours (leather) and Cordura® Rocket. All upper DWR treated (Durable Water Repellent)
Elevated Brim: A hand-mounted rubber surrounding the lower part of the upper protects the leather in scree and rocks, highly increasing durability of the entire boot.
Sole: Vibram® Cross with Shock Absorb (Lightweight sole featuring a tip with almost no profile and biting studs in the middle and heel section. Shock absorber and full length cushioning. Ideal for all activities demanding full foot control such as scrambling or easy climbs)
Usage Classification: B = firm foothold for trekking and hiking
Sizes: 6 – 13 , 3,5 – 9
Construction (Web Site Information)
HANWAG footwear is last constructed, i.e. the shaft is worked over the insole. This is a traditional, very complex manufacturing process, which involves a great deal of manual work. Yet, it is definitely worth the time and effort, as it provides the footwear with excellent stability and ensures a long-lasting great fit.
Also, all shoes can be easily resoled – a fact that is of particular relevance for durable boots with a great fit!
First Impressions and Fit
To be honest, I have not felt that happy with a pair of shoes that early again. The fit was very good, I was feeling surefooted while walking and hanging on the testing ramp. The only small problem I noticed was that the insoles were quite thin and as these shoes have stiff soles, they felt a bit hard on the front of my feet while walking. For this reason I am using a pair of Superfeet Blue insoles. (As I am late posting this review, I am currently using the shoes with the Superfeet Blue insoles and they work fine.)
I was also quite impressed with the fit of the heel cage. The heel cage locks to my heel as no other shoe that I have used so far.
The overall construction of the shoe is excellent. The upper leather is soft and embraces the foot, the lacing system is adaptive and the sole materials are very good.
The grooves of the soles are quite different from the normal mountain shoes. The grip is very good and the climbing zone in the front really provides sticky support. I have traversed narrow ledges on these shoes without a problem (nice side sole support), and also climbed easy boulders (in order to test the climbing zone of the shoes). Please bear in mind that these shoes are very nice all round approach shoes, but I believe that when climbing gets harder you will have to switch to your climbing shoes. At size 46 ( these shoes weight 640 g with the Superfeet Blue insoles and 600 g with the stock insoles. While not being the lightest I believe that would not be a problem to put them into the rucksack and climb.
I have tested the shoes in snow as well and their performance was again very nice. As Alpine routes are normally mixed climbs I believe that the approach shoe should be performing well on both rock and snow. Front pointing on these shoes was excellent. I almost forgot that I wear low approach shoes. Ok there were not as stiff as mountain boots but they were stable and stiff enough. Descending on the heals? No problems again! To my surprise they performed better than expected in conditions of frozen snow. Ok this is the time you put your crampons on, but generally they were more stable that other shoes in this type of conditions (such as Five Ten Camp Four’s for example).
Finally I performed the stream / cigarette test. I do this with all my new shoes in order to check the Gore-Tex lining and their insulation capacity. I step into a stream of water, I light a cigarette and I wait like this until I finish my smoke (approx 5 min). If there is something that is not working properly… it will show. The lining passed the test with flying colours. My feet were kind of cold but this could be attributed to the socks that I was wearing (thin shocks for Snowboard boots). I think that if I was wearing thicker mountaineering shocks it would be much better.
Overall, these are well constructed, excellent fit and support mountain shoes. I believe that they will accompany me for a long time on the mountains. I highly recommend them for people who are looking for a low summer to 3-season shoe. Just to note that these shoes are not comfortable for all day city use but they do well what they are intended for.
- Foot and ankle support
- can be resoled
- Thin stock insole
- Extra cost for insoles
- Some could argue that they are pricey, but I believe that expected durability (judged from materials and construction) counterbalance this
Posted in Boots/Shoes, Outdoor Gear / Apparel | Tagged approach shoes, camp four, climbing, five ten, Gear Review, gore-tex, hanwag, hiking, Outdoor Gear Review, outdoor shoes, shoes, Shoes Review, superfeet | 4 Comments »
Last weekend I was in Pre-la-Joux France. Nice days, a bit crowded. I am slowly progressing to snowboarding and I kinda like it. At the end of the day I managed to get linking turns and I was very pleased. I ridden also a steep section that counts for a red. The only black sheet of the day was that a lady, that could barely stand on her skis, had camped in the middle of my way… I got afraid, over-braked… lost control and landed on my shoulder after a spectacular aerial. Thank god the pain went off after 4 days and my arm functions as normal now (that afternoon I could hardly drive back home). But anyways… experience has been gained. On the other hand I am not so frustrated as the weather is a bit crappy, so the shoulder did not keep me from ridding on sunny days.
Concerning, Pre-la-Joux, it is a nice place offering a lot of green pistes (beware they are narrow a bit) , so it is a nice place for novices and families.
Mens US Team has dominated so far the snowboard scene. Seth Wescott won the gold medal in Snowboard Cross followed by the Canadian Mike Robertson and the French Tony Ramoin. In mens Half Pipe the big air astronaut Shaun White blasted the track and the fans to oblivion…. Really, once again he was too good to be true!!! Hew was seconded by the Finn Piiroinen Peetu and followed by the Yank Lago Scott
In Women’s Snowboard Cross the Canadian Maelle Ricker won the gold medal, seconded by the French Deborah Anthonioz and followed by the Swiss Olivia Nobs. In Half Pipe [...which we did not see as there was Figure Skating (Bliax!!!) on TV] the gold medal goes to the Australian Torah Bright (… interesting!! goes well with White as a surname), seconded by the American Hanah Tetter and followed by the American Kelly Clark
Whomen’s Downhill and Super Combined… Now that was SUPER interesting… In a difficult track when the others were trying to put their feet together Lyndsey Vonn was flying low winning finally the gold medal. Maria Riesch after a speedy run lost balance in the final jump of the track and fell loosing her place in podium. In Super Combined the story was reversed… Lyndsey Vonn, racing after Maria Riesch, lost balance and fell leaving Riech alone in the podium. Julia Mancuso comes back strong winning the silver medals in both (!!!) races
In mens downhill Didier Defago after a fantastic race wins the race leaving the other two places in Aksel Lund Svindal and Bode Miller. In Super G the deck is shuffled a bit with Aksel Lund Svindal flied to the first place, with 0.28 sec difference, leaving the second and third places for the Yanks Bode Miller and Andrew Weibrecht. Our favorite moment of the race the moment that the Italian Christof Innerhofer avoided falling with an acrobatic move finishing just +o.11 from Bode… Nice going man!!!
Garcia on Santa Cruz!!!
We like the season!!! Favorite episode the one with Jonaven Moore. check weekly updates on Arcteryx website and here for past episodes. Bonus! you can download the mp3′s if you like the season soundtrack
Arc’teryx Gloves Microsite
we like this microsite. Nice new opening for Arcteryx with interesting designs
Marmot Spring Website Update
We like this site with animated knots by Grog. From climbing to decorative to rope care.
Posted in A ride in media | Tagged Aksel Lund Svindal, Andrew Weibrecht, Arcteryx, Bode Miller, Christof Innerhofer, climbing knots, Didier Defago, Jonaven Moore, Jones Snowboards, Kelly ClarkHanah TetterTorach Bright, Lago Scott, Maelle Ricker, Marmot, Mike Robertson, Olivia NobsDeborah Anthonioz, Piiroinen Peetu, Seth Wescott, Shaun White, The Season, Tony Ramoin, vancouver 2010, winter olympics | Leave a Comment »